Thursday, March 29, 2007
Homemade French Bread...
I LOVE LOVE LOVE bread!!! Other than bacon frying, fresh bread baking in the oven is the most mouth-watering smell. YUMMMMM...
Years ago, I came across the best recipe for French bread. Not only do I use it for French bread loaves, but I also use it for my pizza dough!! It does great double duty work for our family!!
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
I place everything in my bread maker, set it on "dough" cycle and let it go. After the "dough" cycle is done, I take the dough out, divide it into two even sections and shape them into French bread loaves and place on my bread pan. I use my sharpest kitchen knife and make little "slashes" across the top to allow the bread to rise even more. Then I set it in the oven to rise for 1 hour (I let it rise in the oven because it is a draft free place). When the hour is up, I bake the bread in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Now... if you do not have a bread maker, you can easily mix the ingredients by hand and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Let it rise for 30 minutes in a greased bowl, punch it down, knead it again for about 5 more minutes and let it rise again until double in size. Then divide the dough into two even sections... and go from there in my original directions.
You can also lightly brush a beaten egg across the top of the loaves just before you bake them and they will have a beautiful golden shine to them. I often will do this when I make bread to take somewhere.
For pizza: Make the dough according to directions. You can either divide the dough into two even sections and shape into two "thin crust" pizzas OR you can use the entire amount of dough for a "deep dish" style pizza.